High Force waterfall on the River Tees divides historic Yorkshire and County Durham

North Pennines

National Landscape

Lune ValleyKirkcarrionBalder HeadThe North of England's largest National Landscape begins in Yorkshire beyond the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The North Pennines area extends across many miles of remote mountainous heather and peat bog moorland and beneath them gentler sparsely-populated valleys of upland farming, cascading rivers and streams and expansive reservoirs.

The area also has international recognition by the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture as a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Since November 2023 the area has been renamed a National Landscape like other areas across the country previously called Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Tan Hill InnWe concentrate here on the southern segment of the North Pennines that is part of historic Yorkshire, but in total the area covers well over 700 square miles and also includes large parts in County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland.

The Tan Hill Inn, Britain's highest inn at 528m (1,732ft), in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, is effectively the gatehouse of the North Pennines National Landscape as you leave the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the wilder landscape beyond.

From there the area extends across an area of the historic North Riding of Yorkshire now looked after as part of the modern Durham County Unitary Authority. It crosses the Stainmore Gap to the high moors beyond and to the River Tees, the historic boundary of Yorkshire and County Durham. Westward the mountainous moorland extends into Cumbria.

River Tees, High Force While not for the unprepared, the most direct way across this Yorkshire landscape is possibly that of the long-distance walking route, The Pennine Way. This crosses the heather and peat moorland, dips into and out of the reservoir-filled valleys and then along the Yorkshire bank of the River Tees. Here there are views of the impressive torrent of the 21 metre drop of the river over the High Force waterfall before the trail eventually crosses the river near Yorkshire's northernmost point, Cronkley Scar. Beyond the Tees can be seen the distinctly different whitewashed farm buildings in the continuing beautiful landscape of County Durham.

Wild raspberriesPictured from County Durham is historic Yorkshire's highest mountain Mickle Fell and to the left, just beyond the River Tees, the northernmost point of Yorkshire Cronkley ScarThe North Pennines also includes historic Yorkshire's highest point, Mickle Fell at 788 metres (2,585 ft). However this is not normally accessible. Access is limited and by arranged permit only because of its use as part of a firing range. There is a large Danger Area on some of the moorland within the AONB so it is worth checking a suitable map if venturing on to the moors and watching out for red flags where there can generally be found more information about the closed moorland.

There are vast areas to be explored elsewhere however and the North Pennines has an abundance of safe walking, cycling and riding trails and also boasts 16 dark skies discovery sites and a rich variety of bird, animal and plant life.


There are very few settlements within the area of the National Landscape, but Yorkshire places just outside its edges are:

Boldron, Bowes, Cotherstone, Mickleton, Startforth and Romaldkirk

Visiting by bus

Buses run to the Yorkshire villages around the edges of the AONB from the town of Barnard Castle in County Durham, just across the river from Startforth. Barnard Castle has bus links from Richmond and Ingleton in North Yorkshire.


The North Pennines National Landscape has a visitor centre at Bowlees, County Durham.
Bowlees is in County Durham, on the B6277 on the opposite bank of the River Tees from historic Yorkshire, but only 400 metres away. If walking along the Pennine Way on the Yorkshire bank it can be reached across the river footbridge at Low Force. The visitor centre has information, shop, food and toilets.

North Pennines National Landscape   North Pennines National Landscape website.

Also in Yorkshire.guide

Three National Parks of Yorkshire

North York Moors Peak District Yorkshire Dales

Other National Landscapes in Yorkshire

Forest of Bowland Howardian Hills Nidderdale

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